|Sandoval family farm in Chillan|
The OSU breeding and genetics project members gave five presentations (Mehlenbacher, Smith and McCluskey) and two posters (Mehlenbacher, McCluskey and Rowley). OSU Yamhill County Extension’s Jeff Olsen also presented at the meetings. These meetings gave Oregon growers a chance to meet researchers working on hazelnuts from other countries, and to see OSU researchers interacting with their peers. People from three other countries joined the group part-time.
|Above & below: El Avellano nursery|
We also visited the only Chilean nursery licensed to propagate OSU hazelnut releases, in Hijuelas, about an hour north of Santiago. We toured the Viveros Hijuelas operation, including the micropropagation facility and lath houses. They produce and sell four OSU cultivars and two pollinizers.
· Hiking up Cerro San Cristobal—a hill providing impressive views of Santiago;
· Walking along the beach in Vina del Mar, and riding an ascensor up a hill in Valpariso;
· Seeing monkey puzzle trees in their native Andean habitat;
· Visiting Valdivia, a university town similar to Corvallis, and many other stops along the way;
· Seeing the Lake District near the border with Argentina;
· Climbing to the snowline of Mt. Osorno, a volcano in the Andes.
Everywhere, we enjoyed home-cooked meals and lots of one-on-one interactions. A 7.2 tremor shook the airport terminal while we were waiting to board the return flight. Chileans took it in stride, and the plane departed on time.
Joanne and Wayne Chambers of Albany, Ore., joined our group. Wayne is a “retired” hazelnut grower who has been involved with the breeding program for decades. Since their retirement, the Chambers have enjoyed international travel. Joanne rated this “best trip they’d ever been on,” in large part due to the quality of the interpersonal experiences. Richard and Leonie Smith, who “trained in Shawn’s boot camp” of long days, left the group early for some personal travel in Chile and later reported that they really missed the camaraderie of the group while they were on their own.— Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher, Oregon State University